The Government has approved drafting of legislation to cut the number of TDs from 166 to 158, and implement the other recent recommendations of the Constituency Commission.

Proposals for reform of local government were not discussed at today's Cabinet meeting, despite speculation that the number of town councils would be cut from 75 to 50.

Meanwhile, ministers are to have their mileage expenses cut by 10%, to take account of personal use of their cars.

Ministerial transport used to cost an average of €280,000 per year, when each minister had garda drivers. This has now been reduced to an average of around €100,000, made up of pay for civilian drivers and mileage.

When the new system was introduced, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said it would be reviewed after a year, which has led to today's decision.

Cabinet discussed preparations for the children's rights referendum, which it intends to hold in the autumn. No decision was reached on the date of the referendum.

Elsewhere, the Revenue Commissioners are to be given the responsibility of collecting the new property tax that is to be introduced next year.

A Government spokesperson said the decision was taken because it was deemed to be the most efficient way of collecting the tax.

The current flat rate Household Charge is collected by local authorities.

Proposals on the date of introduction and rate are to be brought to Cabinet in the autumn.